You don’t have to look too far to find businesses and government agencies that carry a heavy burden from paper-based workflows.
These organizations will have rows and rows of filing cabinets packed with paper files and warehouses stacked to the ceilings with file storage boxes.
Even in our digital age, we still witness these anachronisms: pulling a file from a cabinet while a customer waits; sending a clerk through a massive document warehouse in search of a box packed away years ago.
Relying on long-term paper document storage also presents big risks: In early 2015, a document storage facility went up in flames in Brooklyn, N.Y., destroying records from the state court system and other government agencies. In another widely reported story of document storage gone awry, a Veterans Affairs regional office had stored so many paper files, they exceeded the weight-bearing capability of the facility.
A digital document storage system can deliver a fast and efficient workflow, which improves profitability and customer service. Let’s look at some of the benefits compared to paper document storage:
Speed and Efficiency
- Digital documents can be retrieved immediately, and can be accessed 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year. Requests for documents stored in boxes in a warehouse can take hours or days to fulfill, and often can only be accessed during regular business hours.
- Digital documents can be viewed from a screen anywhere in the world; paper documents can only be reviewed at their physical location.
- Digital documents can be easily and quickly shared; paper documents take time to get sent/routed through the organization.
Security and Safety
- Digital documents can be assigned security settings, allowing only those with security rights to view them; paper documents, if poorly secured, can be viewed or taken by anybody with access to the storage facility.
- Digital documents can be automatically backed up to secure remote servers or the cloud, making them recoverable in case of a disaster; paper documents are vulnerable to fire, leaking ceilings and broken pipes and may not be recoverable if lost or damaged.
- Document management systems provide an audit trail for digital documents: There is a timestamp and record of who checked out/checked in the file; who edited it, etc. It’s very difficult to establish an audit trail with paper documents.
Moving from Paper to Digital
Enterprise-level businesses and government organizations with hundreds of thousands or even millions of files and paper documents in phsyical storage may find it daunting to shift to a digital storage system.
Businesses seeking a fast transition to digital can begin with a high-volume scanning project, capturing all required documents and making them accessible through a document management system.
Another approach is “day-forward” scanning: capturing new documents as they enter the daily business workflow. Older files can be scanned and imaged for the document management system incrementally, as time and budget allow.
Digital document storage is part of an overall enterprise content management system, which begins with a digital mailroom solution. To learn more about document management solutions for large enterprises and governmental organizations, contact DATAMARK’s team of business engineering experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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